I am supposed to write a paper about understanding Jesus Christ according to the writings of Pope Benedict XVI. Easy, right?
I think the tricky thing about this paper topic is that it makes Christ out to be something subjective, like truth seems to be these days. But Jesus is not something subjective, especially if He is God. Of course as individuals we experience objective truth in different ways, just like we can all be looking at the same painting and receive something different from it, but the painting itself does not change. It is what it is and Jesus is who He is.
As a believer, I trust Benedict XVI. His writings on the subject are not the infallible teachings of the Magesterium, but he is loyal to the Church (He is the Pope, after all!) and undoubtedly a most learned theologian.
Here's the outline for my paper: I will blog on each part for you in sections. I am pulling this information primarily from his books Jesus of Nazareth, Behold the Pierced One, Introduction to Christianity and his Wednesday Audience messages. I very much recommend the book Behold the Pierced One. It focuses on spiritual Christology--I can't praise it enough.
-Introduction: Paradox and Mystery
I. Jesus or Christ? Jesus Christ? The "historical" Jesus and the "Christ" of faith. Benedict bridges the gap caused by modern scholarship. (The one (Jesus) cannot exist without the other (Christ).
II. The key to understanding Jesus is his communion with the Father. His being is relationship. ("I and the Father are one."-John 10:30)
III. "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."-Timothy 2:5 The connection between Christology, Soteriology, and the Church.
IV. Jesus Christ is not a mere teacher: He is the teaching. The Christian Faith is not a philosophy, but an encounter with a Person.
-Conclusion: Faith and Reason